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, long island, new york. c-span: did you grow up there? >> guest: yes. c-span: what'd your parents do? >> guest: my father was employed by the veterans administration hospital in that town. c-span: and when did you first get your interest in either being a teacher or an english, a little history, research? >> guest: i think in college i knew that i wanted to be a teacher for the usual reading reasons. i loved reading and writing. i loved research. but after doing the books that i've done on literature, i think i was ready to change the focus of my research to history. for me, having spent all of my life working on imaginative literature that is, stories that had been created by people working with fact and historical events is very exciting. it's like a new kind of activity for me. c-span: and where did you go to college? >> guest: at the university of north carolina for my undergraduate years and bryn mawr college for a phd. c-span: if we had followed you around since 1990 you were at the battlefield out in montana where else would we have seen you working on this book? >> guest: man
to becoming one now. c-span: this book went to the best-seller list. >> guest: new york times and to about five other best-seller lists as well: wall street journal, washington post, publishers weekly. it--it's still, i think, on publishers weekly now, and amazon... c-span: are you surprised? >> guest: yes, i am. and i didn't have the easiest time, the andersons and i, getting a contract for the book with a big publisher. i don't think most of them thought there was anything there to publish, just some old radio broadcasts by reagan. and so it took a while, and so this is a surprise. c-span: how did you do it? >> guest: hard work. c-span: well, first of all, it's published by free press. >> guest: by the free press. simon & schuster is the parent company. a lot of hard work selling the book, selling the idea, believing in it, and really working with the documents and trying to present them in an interesting way. and i think what was most convincing to people--and that's why i brought a copy of the actual yellow sheets, or a draft of it, so that you could show it... c-span: this is
heights is a mystery to me. >> you were born where? >> i was born in the tiny town in upstate new york but raised in new jersey. >> when did you first go to israel? >> i first went when i was 15. i went to work on a farm. i worked in alfalfa, i worked in the cows, i became a cowboy. i was a lousy farmer. i went and studied history. >> what kind of a jew was your family, your father, mother? >> my parents grew up in a conservative jewish community. my parents were zionist, proisrael. were supportive of the state of israel. >> are they both from here? >> both from here, yes, yes. my father had been a career army officer for a period in the u.s. army and served in world war ii and korea and later became a hospital administrator. >> so you say conservative, orthodox conservative reform? >> right in the middle. >> did you fight in the 1967 war? >> i was a kid. >> you were a kid. did you fight any war? >> i fought in a couple of them, yes. i fought in the lebanon war. i was quite involved in the lebanon war. i served in the israeli paratroopers. i was in the israeli special forces. >> what year?
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